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LISTEN: Temple Grandin, 2017 Women's Hall of Fame inductee

Sep 6, 2017

Credit Rosalie Winard

A woman who helped shine the light on the unique abilities of an autistic mind will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls next week.

Temple Grandin, an author, speaker, and champion of farm animal welfare said the honor means a lot to her.

"Because when I first started in the seventies,” she said, “being a woman in a man's industry - the cattle industry - that was hard and I had to prove that I could do it. I was really motivated to make sure that my stuff was really good and that I wasn't stupid." 

Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as a young child, relied on her own sensitivities to environmental factors to understand the fears of livestock headed for slaughter. Her designs for livestock handling have transformed the industry worldwide.

She said her childhood was full of adventure and discovery, but by contrast, Grandin believes some parents today have a tendency to be overprotective of their children.

"I've seen fully verbal kids who haven't learned shopping," she said. "That's something I learned at seven. You've got to stretch these kids; you have to stretch them just outside of their comfort zone to keep them developing. You don't throw them into the deep end of the pool where they get sensory overload, but if they don't stretch, they don't develop."

A proponent of hands-on learning, Grandin is working on a book about at home projects to do with kids. "One of the worst things the schools have done today is taking out all of the hands-on classes:  art, cooking, sewing, woodworking, theater, and music,” she said. “These classes teach problem solving and they also introduce kids to a lot of different careers."

Grandin is one of 10 new National Women’s Hall of Fame inductees being honored for their historic achievements.

The induction ceremonies on September 16 will be part of a weekend celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote in New York State.